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  1. Author: Magdalena Marsden

    the bread book cover photo

    For the last year or so I have been thinking of writing a book - a bread baking book that is. And after several months spend in front of computer screen and testing new recipes, I'm really pleased to say, that I'm nearly there!

    The book is now being proofread, formatted and I'm finishing setting up all the technical stuff behind the scenes. Did you know how many things you need to work out and connect if you just want to download a pdf? Not to worry, that's not your job, but what you can do right now, is to read the introduction to the book! And if you are not already on our newsletter, make sure you sign up here, to be the first one to know when the book is out!

    15 March 2015 update: The Bread Book has arrived! Available as immediate download in pdf form and as Kindle version.

     

    'I can clearly remember when I baked my first bread. I was on my own at home and thought I would bake something more useful than just another cake. Don’t get me wrong, cakes are good, but a bit tricky to use as packed lunches for work. (Now, there’s a thought!)

    I had been living in the UK for about a year or so and, even though I was trying to get used to the new environment and food, I was not particularly keen on supermarket bread. In those days, there were no artisan bakeries – certainly not in the part of London where we lived. I was missing our Czech traditional bread – which is based on rye flour and is made with caraway seeds and sourdough starter. The taste is very earthy, slightly tangy and the bread smells absolutely delicious. I wanted to be reminded of my home in Czech Republic.

    So on that, rainy afternoon, I tried to recreate a bread recipe that I cut out from a magazine. It was a basic recipe and there weren’t many instructions, nor did it have any pictures. I had no idea how long I was supposed to knead the bread or how long I should leave it to prove and I didn’t quite understand how to shape the bread either!

    Well, I’m not going to keep you in suspense – it was a disaster!

    The bread was dense with no crust, no lift and no crumbly texture, and whilst it was burnt on the outside, it was still soggy in the middle. The bread was hard like a rock, but the taste was fine and, in the end we actually ate it – partly as a protest for not being defeated by a humble bread and also because I do hate to waste food!

    But what this bread disaster meant was that I became even more determined to get it right next time. Fast forward 16 years and I’m really proud to say that, since that disastrous bread day, I have not bought bread in a supermarket!

    I took it as a personal challenge never to run out of bread. Even when I came home from a day’s work, I would get stuck in and knead a few loaves, enjoying the freshly baked bread later on.

    Although I like cookery books, I find them equally frustrating because, apart from a few exceptions out there, they don’t actually explain why you do things. If you’re anything like me, unless somebody explains to me why I should knead my bread for 10 minutes, I tend to just mix it and stick it in the oven (incidentally that’s exactly what I did all those years ago with my first bread). I need to understand why!

    So, after running my bread baking workshops for over 3 years, I decided to pull together everything that I wished I had known when I started to bake bread – and I hope you find it useful too!

    Happy baking!

    Magdalena

     

    P.S. The main purpose of this book is to share with you all of my knowledge and bread baking techniques, the tricks of the home baking trade and, first and foremost, to give you the understanding of ‘WHY’.

    Once you have this understanding, you’ll be able to pick any bread baking recipe and follow it with a success. If the recipe is not right, you will understand why and be confident to follow your instinct as a baker, correct it and make it work for you.

    Because of that you won’t find that many recipes in this book. I have included about 35 of my favourites, but they are really not that important in the overall scheme of this book. What is important though, is that you learn the techniques – and then you will be able to bake any recipe that you already have at home successfully.

    As you read through the first few pages, you might perhaps think that I’m approaching bread baking very seriously, but as you will find out, there is a lot of leeway with bread baking, so just have a fun with it.

    What’s the worst thing that can happen, anyway? Even my bread didn’t end up in a bin all those years ago!

    And finally I’d love to know how you get on, so feel free connect with me on social media, post a picture of your latest bread bake or just to ask any questions. You will find all my contact details at the end of the book'

    Any good? I hope so and I promise the rest of the book will live up to your expectations. You can already find the The Bread Book in our shop and I'll be letting everyone know when it's out!

    Have friends that like baking? Why not share this page with them!

    mm author

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  2. Author: Magdalena Marsden

    Wales Fix

     

    Over the last 17 years I've become very fond of Wales. It's not just because I like walking and the countryside and my brother in-law lives there, but because it reminds me of home. This might seem strange, as I'm from a landlocked country (Czech Republic) and we have no sea, but the type of countryside, not too many main roads and perhaps a simpler way of living is exactly why in my heart Wales is like a home to me.

     

    We always go on holiday to Wales, to walk, to clear our heads, eat good food and meet great people. Over the years we met some fabulous people - the reclusive artist that escaped from London to hide in the Welsh borders to create, the music studio owner, who was given the task to record with a certain very famous young pop group, because his studio is the highest and most remote in the whole UK and apparently it's really difficult to sneak out to buy drugs (I kid you not!) and an English film producer that spends most of his time working on films in the renowned Barandov Film Studios in Prague.

     

    I'm getting slightly side tracked here, but this is just to give you an idea why I'm so fond of Wales.

    Anyway, last year I was lucky enough to spend a day milling my own flour in Talgarth Mill. I've written about my experience in one of my previous posts, if you want to read it. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with other budding bread bakers, so this year after 4 years of running bread baking workshops and after being nudged by my lovely students, I'm taking my bread baking on holiday!

     

    Well, a sort of very special bread baking holiday - 5 day Bread Baking Course, 14 - 19 March 2015 - held in the beautiful setting of an old Victorian house with a kitchen the size of my house and no less than 6 Aga ovens! And we will be only 40 minutes away from Talgarth Mill, so the Milling Experience, together with baking bread in a wood fired oven will be part of the holiday. On top of that we are going to cover everything there is about bread baking - the basic techniques, recipes and what to do when things go wrong. I wanted the course to be suitable for all abilities, so if you are more advanced, there will be other techniques that you can practice. The best thing, is that even though the house is absolutely huge (and comfortable) we will only have a small group of 8 bakers, which, I think, will make everything more personal and everyone will have plenty of space to practice their own bread baking, relax with a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire or just read a book in a privacy of your own room. And if your friend or partner fancies coming along with you, just for a break, they are welcome too. As most of the rooms are either twin or a large double, we have spaces for 'non- bakers' - friends who are welcome to join us for all the meals, but do as they please during day. There is plenty to explore nearby and Cardiff is only 30 minutes away.

     

    I also thought (you can tell I've been doing a lot of thinking, can't  you....) that it might be nice to do something different in the evening. So, we will have a topical talk & tasting of local cheeses, healthy eating talk from a nutricionist Claire Stone (who is not your traditional type of nutricionist and definitelly knows her stuff) and chocolate mini workshop are prepared for everyone staying with us.

    I'm really looking forward to taking my bread baking workshops on the tour and you are welcome to join us too.

    Happy Baking!

    Magdalena

    Can't make the date, but would like to stay in touch? You are welcome to join our monthly newsletter with bread baking tips, ideas and recipes.

     

     

  3. Author: Magdalena Marsden

     

    New Chocolate Truffle Course

     

    So, it's Sunday and I find myself, yet again happily exhausted at the end of a long week.  Have you noticed how cup of tea just taste so much better, when you are completely worn out ? Officially I was on 'holiday', but honestly has anyone actually taken a proper holiday when they are self-employed ?

  4.  Author: Magdalena Marsden

    Well, believe me or not, I have been asked this question so many times, that later last year I decided, it was time to set up few chocolate making classes and share my passion for chocolate and my chocolate making skills with others.

    Like with all my other baking courses, I first ran the course with my friends and people who already attended my 'Artisan Bread Baking Course' in the past. I wanted to try and test how well the course will run and how difficult or easy it will be get everyone's chocolate tempered at the same time.

     

    Chocolate Tempering

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was a great fun - even when the temperatures on one day were too hot to work with the chocolate properly. Everyone enjoyed this chocolate making experience - from designing their own chocolate truffle ganashe flavour to learning how to dip and decorate the truffles like a professional chocolatier.

    I have also prepared plenty of chocolate tasting of our Origin's chocolates, filled truffle bars and chocolate truffles that I made previously. At the end of the sessions, everyone's chocolates were beautifully wrapped in chocolate boxes - ready as a unique chocolate gift.

    I have had some great comments back - most of the times people didn't believe that they can create something so perfect the first time round! I must admit I'm always admiring the end results - everyone's chocolates are so different and beautiful too.

     

    Chocolate Truffle Workshops

    The Chocolate Truffle Making workshops have been now running for over a year and I love sharing my passion for good chocolate with other people. Our chocolate making workshops are run in our victorian chocolate kitchen in South East London, Bexleyheath.

     

     

     

  5. easy plum jam recipe

     

    Author: Magdalena Marsden

    Autumn is always a happy season, since it's a harvest time and there is so much colour in the countryside. There is also plenty of fruit around and one of my favourite thing to make is a plum jam. So, today I wanted to share with you my easy plum jam recipe, which I've tried and tested over the years.

  6. iced-coffee-2305211_1280

    Iced coffee is one of my favourite ways of enjoying coffee in summer. Iced Coffee is very common drink on the continent, but not so much in the UK. Well, I think, it's time to change that!I always offer refreshments, when I run my baking courses and this week, I decided to prepare my version of Iced Coffee. I was right that nobody really wanted a hot drink anyway and my iced coffee was a bit of a welcomed novelty.